Master gardener gives advice on reviving your garden after the freeze

Surveying your landscape after winter freeze
Surveying your landscape after winter freeze

HOUSTON – With the warm weather back, home and gardening stores are busy helping plant owners trying to deal with the aftermath of the freezing weather. 

Joshua’s Native Plants in the Heights has had hundreds of customers.

”We were busy the next day after the freeze was over,” said owner Joshua Kornegay. “We’re getting new product in... It’s all good: back to business.”

Kornegay said he is not worried about his plants or his business, as he said nature does just fine. He has been doing this for more than 30 years and for all those decades, he said the lessons after bad weather are all the same.

“Some people are anxious to make it all pretty again. It all goes back to patience and pocketbook,” Kornegay said.

However, passionate gardeners like Sue Schwaller understand the heartbreak of seeing your plants after a long freeze.

”Our citrus trees, we have three. Think we’ve lost them,” Schwaller said.

Kornegay has a message of hope for those who think they may have lost all their plants. He said chances are many are not actually dead and they are likely to come back.

”People are overthinking it. They see the leaves, and it looks brown but that trunk may be just fine. In two weeks or two months it might put out new growth,” Kornegay said.

Kornegay swears by the scratch test.

”Take a limb...It looks like it’s dead, scratch it, and it’s nice and green underneath there. That plant’s going to be just fine,” Kornegay said after performing the test on a plant at his shop.

Cut the plant’s limbs or leaves only if they do not pass the scratch test or if the parts are mushy, he said.

”You just cut all of those back and those roots will be just fine,” Kornegay said.

He says native plants will do the best, while foreign plants could be a hit or miss. At the end of the day, it comes down to time and money.

”If you can’t wait and if you can afford it, rip it out and put all new in, or if you’re patient, a lot of the stuff will come back. It may be May or June even, but they will come back,” Kornegay said.